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Hernia Surgery

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A hernia is a medical condition that occurs when an internal part of the body protrudes through a weakness or opening in the muscle or tissue wall that normally holds it in place. This protrusion typically results in a visible lump or swelling in the affected area.

Hernias commonly develop in areas of the body between the chest and hips, such as the abdomen or groin. While some hernias may cause no symptoms or only mild discomfort, others can lead to more significant symptoms and complications.

Key characteristics of a hernia include:

  1. Lump or Swelling: The most noticeable symptom of a hernia is often a visible lump or swelling in the affected area. This lump may become more prominent when standing, coughing, or straining, and it may recede or disappear when lying down.

  2. Location: Hernias can occur in various locations within the body, including the abdominal wall (ventral hernia), groin (inguinal hernia), belly button (umbilical hernia), or surgical incision site (incisional hernia), among others.

  3. Discomfort or Pain: While some hernias are painless, others may cause discomfort, pain, or a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the affected area. Pain may worsen with physical activity, lifting, or straining.

  4. Other Symptoms: Depending on the size and location of the hernia, individuals may experience additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, or difficulty with bowel movements.

If you suspect you have a hernia or experience symptoms suggestive of a hernia, it's important to seek medical evaluation and treatment. In some cases, hernias may require surgical repair to prevent complications such as incarceration or strangulation, which can lead to tissue damage and require emergency medical intervention.

What is Hernia?

Inguinal hernias

Inguinal hernias are a type of hernia that occurs when fatty tissue or a portion of the bowel protrudes through a weak spot or tear in the abdominal muscles, specifically in the groin area near the top of the inner thigh.

This type of hernia is the most common, particularly among men. It is often linked to factors such as aging and repetitive strain on the abdominal muscles, which can weaken the muscle tissue and increase the risk of herniation.

Inguinal hernias typically present as a bulge or swelling in the groin area, which may become more pronounced when standing, coughing, or straining. While some inguinal hernias may be asymptomatic, others can cause discomfort, pain, or a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the groin.

Treatment for inguinal hernias often involves surgical repair to strengthen the weakened abdominal muscles and prevent the hernia from recurring or causing complications such as incarceration or strangulation. If you suspect you have an inguinal hernia or experience symptoms suggestive of a hernia, it's important to seek medical evaluation and treatment promptly.

Types of Hernia

  • Femoral hernias occur when fatty tissue or a portion of the bowel protrudes through the groin area at the top of the inner thigh, similar to inguinal hernias.

  • While less common than inguinal hernias, femoral hernias tend to affect more women than men.

  • Like inguinal hernias, femoral hernias are associated with factors such as aging and repeated strain on the abdominal muscles.

Femoral Hernias

  • Umbilical hernias develop when fatty tissue or a portion of the bowel protrudes through the abdominal wall near the belly button (umbilicus).

  • In babies, umbilical hernias can occur if the opening in the abdominal wall that allows the umbilical cord to pass through fails to close properly after birth.

  • Adults can also develop umbilical hernias, often as a result of repeated strain on the abdominal muscles.

Hiatus hernias

Hiatus hernias develop when a portion of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm—a muscular partition separating the chest from the abdomen. While some individuals may not experience noticeable symptoms, others may suffer from heartburn.

The exact cause of hiatus hernias remains uncertain, though they may stem from age-related weakening of the diaphragm or increased abdominal pressure.

Other Types Of Hernia

Other types of hernias that can affect the abdomen include:

  1. Incisional Hernias: These hernias occur when tissue protrudes through a surgical incision or wound in the abdomen that has not fully healed. They often develop at the site of a previous abdominal surgery.

  2. Epigastric Hernias: Epigastric hernias involve the protrusion of fatty tissue through the abdominal wall between the belly button (umbilicus) and the lower part of the breastbone (xiphoid process). They typically manifest as small lumps or bulges in the upper abdomen.

  3. Spigelian Hernias: Spigelian hernias occur when part of the bowel protrudes through a weakness or defect in the abdominal wall, usually below the belly button. These hernias may present as a bulge or swelling at the side of the abdominal muscles.

  4. Diaphragmatic Hernias: Diaphragmatic hernias occur when organs from the abdomen, such as the stomach or intestines, move into the chest cavity through an opening or defect in the diaphragm. This condition can also affect infants if their diaphragm fails to develop properly in the womb, resulting in a congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

  5. Muscle Hernias: Muscle hernias involve the protrusion of muscle tissue through the surrounding fascia or connective tissue. They commonly occur in muscles of the leg, particularly as a result of sports-related injuries or trauma.


These various types of hernias can cause discomfort, pain, or complications if left untreated. Management typically involves surgical repair to strengthen the abdominal wall and prevent further protrusion of tissues or organs. Prompt medical evaluation and treatment are important for addressing hernias and preventing potential complications.

Umbilical Hernias

Assoc. Dr. Mutlu Ünver graduated from Ege University Faculty of Medicine. Mutlu Ünver, who completed his specialty training at Ege University Faculty of Medicine, Department of General Surgery, serves his patients in his own clinic.

İzmir En iyi genel cerrah Doç.Dr.Mutlu Ünver


Mutlu Ünver

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It's important to seek medical advice if you suspect you have a hernia. Your general practitioner (GP) can assess your symptoms and may refer you to a specialist or hospital for further evaluation and treatment, if necessary.

However, if you experience any of the following symptoms associated with a hernia, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention by going to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department:

  1. Sudden, Severe Pain: If you develop sudden and severe pain, especially at the site of the hernia, it could indicate a complication such as strangulation or obstruction.

  2. Vomiting: Persistent vomiting, particularly if accompanied by abdominal pain, may signal a complication such as bowel obstruction.

  3. Difficulty Passing Stool or Gas: If you have difficulty passing stool or gas, or if you experience constipation, it could indicate a blockage in the intestine, which requires urgent medical attention.

  4. Changes in Hernia Characteristics: If the hernia becomes firm, tender, or unable to be pushed back into place, it may suggest a complication such as strangulation or obstruction.

These symptoms could indicate serious complications of a hernia, such as strangulation (cutting off blood supply to the herniated tissue) or bowel obstruction (blockage of the intestine). Both of these conditions are medical emergencies and require immediate treatment to prevent further complications and potential tissue damage.

If you experience any of these symptoms, do not delay seeking medical attention. Prompt evaluation and treatment are essential for managing hernia-related complications effectively and ensuring the best possible outcome.

When To Seek Medical Advice

  • GP Examination: A general practitioner (GP) can typically diagnose a hernia by performing a physical examination of the affected area. They will assess for the presence of a bulge or lump, which is characteristic of a hernia.

  • Diagnostic Imaging: In some cases, the GP may refer you to a hospital for further evaluation, which may include an ultrasound scan. This painless imaging test uses high-frequency sound waves to create detailed images of the inside of the body, helping to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of the hernia.

  • Diagnosis Confirmation: Once the diagnosis of a hernia is confirmed, a GP or hospital doctor will determine whether surgical repair is necessary. Several factors are considered in this decision-making process:

  • Type of Hernia: Certain types of hernias are more likely to lead to complications such as strangulation or bowel obstruction, influencing the decision for surgery.

  • Content of the Hernia: The presence of bowel, muscle, or other tissue within the hernia may increase the risk of complications and warrant surgical intervention.

  • Symptoms and Impact: Severe or worsening symptoms, as well as limitations in daily activities due to the hernia, may indicate the need for surgery.

  • General Health: The overall health status of the individual is considered, as surgery may pose risks in individuals with poor general health.

  • Treatment Decision: Based on these factors, the healthcare provider will determine whether surgery to repair the hernia is appropriate. While most hernias do not improve without surgery, they may not necessarily worsen over time. In some cases, the risks associated with surgery may outweigh the potential benefits, leading to conservative management or watchful waiting.

  • Overall, the decision for hernia repair surgery is individualized and based on careful consideration of the hernia type, symptoms, potential complications, and the patient's overall health status.

Assessing Inguinal Hernia

Hernias do not resolve on their own, and surgical intervention is necessary for repair. There are three main types of hernia surgery:

  1. Open Surgery: This involves making an incision directly over the hernia site. The protruding organ or tissue is repositioned, and the weakened muscle wall is stitched together. In modern hernia surgery, a mesh may be used to reinforce the area for added support. Open surgeries can be performed under general, regional, or local anesthesia.

  2. Laparoscopic Surgery: Laparoscopic hernia repair follows a similar approach to open surgery but is minimally invasive. Small incisions are made through which surgical instruments, including a laparoscope, are inserted. The laparoscope provides a magnified view of the internal structures, allowing for precise repair of the hernia.

  3. Robotic Hernia Repair: Robotic surgery for hernia repair also utilizes a laparoscope and is conducted through small incisions. It is a less common form of minimally invasive surgery, often referred to as closed surgery. During robotic surgery, the surgeon operates from a console in the operating room, controlling robotic arms equipped with surgical instruments. The surgeon's movements are translated into precise actions by the robotic system.

Hernia Treatment and Surgery

Recovery of Hernia Surgery:

Most patients undergoing hernia repair surgery can expect to go home the same day or the day after the procedure. Full recovery typically takes a few weeks, during which time patients may need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities. Pain and discomfort following surgery are usually managed with pain medications prescribed by the surgeon.

Considerations About Hernia Surgery:

Before undergoing hernia repair surgery, it's essential to discuss the procedure with your surgeon and understand both the benefits and risks involved. While hernia surgery is generally safe and effective, complications such as infection, bleeding, or recurrence of the hernia may occur. Your surgeon will assess your individual situation and provide guidance on the most appropriate surgical approach and post-operative care plan.


Each type of surgery has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The choice of approach depends on various factors, including the type and location of the hernia, the patient's overall health, and the surgeon's expertise. Your surgeon will evaluate your individual case and recommend the most suitable approach for your hernia repair.

If surgery is not performed for a hernia, several complications can arise as the condition progresses:

  1. Growth and Increased Pain: Hernias do not resolve spontaneously and tend to enlarge over time. As the hernia grows, it may become more painful and uncomfortable for the individual.

  2. Development of Complications: Untreated hernias can lead to various complications, some of which can be life-threatening. These complications include:

  • Obstruction (Incarceration): In some cases, part of the intestine may become trapped or incarcerated within the hernia sac, leading to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and a painful lump in the groin. This condition requires emergency surgery within hours to prevent tissue death.

  • Strangulation: If the blood supply to the trapped intestine is cut off, strangulation occurs. This results in irreversible tissue death (necrosis) and can lead to a life-threatening situation. Emergency surgery is necessary to remove the affected portion of the intestine and repair the hernia.

To prevent such complications, it is essential to undergo a planned (elective) hernia operation as soon as possible. Early intervention can help avoid the progression of the hernia and reduce the risk of serious complications. Therefore, individuals with hernias should seek medical attention promptly and discuss treatment options with their healthcare provider to prevent the development of complications.

What can happen if surgery is not performed?

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